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home : blogsold : verde heritage September 25, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Friday, April 26, 2013

1908: BLACK HILLS; F. J. CONREY & E. D. HURLEY FEUD; May 14, Part 2.

Verde Heritage


"That the shooting of Conrey was the climax of a feud of several years standing, the evidence introduced in the case of E. D. Hurley, indicted for the murder of Frederick J. Conrey, in the district court yesterday, indicates." ...

Ralph Clark "told of meeting Conrey in July two years ago at the Cliff mine. Conrey was on his way home and witness was going to Jerome. Conrey had a bottle of whiskey. He asked witness to join him in taking a drink. Witness took a drink and in the course of a short conversation Conrey asked him if he had seen Hurley that day and after witness answering in the affirmative Conrey said, 'I expect I'll have to kill the old gray headed __ __ __ yet.'"

"Clark said on cross examination that he was on friendly terms with Hurley and was not on unfriendly terms with Conrey, although the questions asked by the district attorney pointed out that the witness was not on friendly terms with Conrey since Conrey had refused to testify a certain way in a water suit in which Clark is alleged to have been interested." ...

During his testimony, Edward Hurley stated that "the April before ... Conrey drove the flock of goats by the Hurley house and invited him to 'come out half way.' Hurley refused to go out for the reason, he explained, that he did not want any trouble." ...

Ed Hurley "also testified that during the month of August preceding the shooting in October, 1907, Conrey met him on Little Oak Creek, where he, the defendant, was engaged in making a water appropriation. Conrey asked him why he abused the Conrey children, which witness denied. Conrey then said, 'If you ever do that again, I'll kill you, and I have a ___ ___ notion to blow your head off right now.' Conrey was then armed with a shotgun.' ...

"Fred Hawkins, Marshal of Jerome, ... said that previous to the first shooting affray between Hurley and Conrey that Conrey asked him to arrest Hurley, stating at the same time that if he did not arrest Hurley that he would go out and get him himself. Witness refused to arrest Hurley and Conrey never spoke to him afterwards. On cross examination Marshal Hawkins said that he would arrest Hurley if given a warrant for his arrest and admitted that he was taking interest in the case for the defense for the reason that he did not believe that Hurley got a square deal by the persons who investigated the shooting of Conrey." ...

"Constable King of Jerome, testified that Conrey requested him to arrest Hurley in October a year ago. Witness refused to arrest Hurley without a warrant. Conrey then said: 'If some of you don't get Hurley I'll have to try to get him myself.' this was before the first shooting affray between Hurley and Conrey."

Edward Hurley testified "to the shooting scrape between himself and Conrey October 12, 1907. He said it took place 240 feet distant from his house. He was working in a tunnel a short distance away and between 8 and 10 o'clock in the morning heard a bell ring in front of the tunnel. Coming out he saw a flock of goats running up the hill in the direction of the house. He started to drive the goats back when Conrey addressed him saying, 'I'm herding goats today and if you interfere with them I'll kill you.' He (Hurley) went to his house 150 feet distant and coming out with his pistol, started again to drive the goats back when Conrey again addressed him, shouting, 'Draw your gun and shoot, I'm ready,' firing almost instantly. Conrey shot a second, third and fourth time and disappeared, defendant next seeing him a considerable distance away. Defendant admitted being wounded in the leg and breast in this affray." ...

Constable King of Jerome "also said he was in Hurley's home and Conrey's a few hours after the shooting and accompanied both men to Jerome. Conrey told him that he shot three and possibly four times at Hurley but was prevented from shooting at Hurley again on account of the wound in his arm. Conrey did not state who shot first." ...

"James P. King, who lives ten miles south of the Hurley place, ... said that he has been acquainted with Hurley for the past eight years. He visited Hurley's home in February of this year. Hurley informed him that at the time that Conrey had not passed the place since they were before the grand jury for the first shooting. Witness suggested that Conrey probably feared being shot from ambush. Hurley replied that Conrey had no reasons for such fears as he, Hurley, had shown him in the previous engagement that he did not fear to face him. Witness suggested further to Hurley that he and Conrey ought to forget their troubles and become friends. Hurley replied that he would not make up with a man who would come to his place to kill him and stated that if Conrey ever passed the place with that old gun of his, he would kill him." ...

"L. A. Willard testified ... that he had a conversation with witness King last election day at Cottonwood in which King told him that he had asked Hurley to settle his quarrel with Conrey some time before the shooting. King informed witness that he had told Hurley that Conrey feared he would ambush him, and that Hurley answered that he would not ambush him and that Conrey could travel any trail if he would quit packing that old gun. Cross examined, the witness admitted that he was friendly to Hurley and that the purpose of his conversation with King was to satisfy himself whether Hurley was a murderer." ...

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; December 16, 1908; page 5, columns 1-4.)

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